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Our students are joined by Mayor and Local MP during hotel takeover

This weekend the Mayor of Eastleigh, Councillor Des Scott, joined Eastleigh College students in their takeover of the Holiday Inn Hotel in Eastleigh. Over 60 Hospitality and Catering students took over the running of the hotel for two days on Friday 20th January and Saturday 21st January, ranging from Catering roles to housekeeping and Reception.

This exciting and unique project allowed first, second and third year catering and hospitality students to experience the pressures, challenges and rewards of working in a 4* hotel, and to learn the responsibilities associated with key roles such as Head Chef, Operations Manager, Duty Manager and many more. In addition to ensuring the smooth-running of the hotel and attending to guests, the students were also in charge of managing the staff Christmas party.

Commenting on his visit, Councillor Des Scott Mayor of Eastleigh said, “I am really impressed with how the Holiday Inn and Eastleigh College work as a partnership, and I’m delighted with what I’ve discovered this morning. I think it’s a fantastic initiative, to give the students the whole process from interviews to a sense of what work is really like.”

Level 3 Patisserie student Katie Woodford took over the role of General Manager for the weekend, and hopes to set up her own cake decorating company in the future, “It’s really good to see how the hotel runs day-to-day, and to learn management and organisation skills which will help me in setting up my own company.”

Amber Jones, Level 3 Hospitality and Catering student, currently works at No. 5 Bridge Street in Winchester as a Commis Chef, and hopes to be employed there full-time after completing her studies. She took over the role of Head Chef at the Holiday Inn: “I’m hoping to improve my team leadership and time management skills. I also prepared the menu for the staff Christmas party, which was the first large function I’ve catered for by myself.”

Eastleigh MP Mims Davies also visited the hotel during the takeover, to sample an afternoon tea prepared and served by the students. This is the first year Mims has attended the event, and she was impressed with what she saw, “I think it’s absolutely brilliant; one of the things employers tell me is that they want their employees to be work-ready. They want them to know what it takes to do the job they’ve chosen, such as getting to work at 7am on a Saturday! Employment in Eastleigh is at a 10-year high, which is great news for those who want to be ready for the job.”

Commenting on the event, now in its third consecutive year, General Manager of the Holiday Inn Alastair Lawson is pleased with the progress he has seen in the students, “For some of the students this is their second or third time, and it’s been really interesting to see the progression. Some of the students came from lower-level roles in their first year and are now in leadership or management roles. You can see them growing in confidence.”

For more information on the range of Hospitality and Catering programmes on offer at Eastleigh College, please visit the careers page or call 023 8091 1299.